Monday, February 7, 2011

Vive L'Amour --- five aphrodisiacs and Random Magic....

So, what kinds of things inspire us to love?   Throughout the years, people have found inspiration in all sorts of things, some of them a bit odd.   But, love cares not for rules or decorum -- it does what it likes.   However, people sometimes to try to bend love in their direction .... and aphrodisiacs are one bit of cleverness that they can try.   I'm sure we can all think of a romantic dinner, and what we would eat --- chocolate, perhaps?  Oysters?  Champagne?   Question is: can certain foods increase romantic feelings?   I suppose it depends....

The Top 5 Food Aphrodisiacs (not in any particular order):
 
 
Dark Chocolate  -- Cocoa contains a number of feel-good chemicals, including PEA (phenylethylamine), which releases dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain.  Cacao also contains trytophan (which promotes a sense of well-being and relaxation).   In addition to this, dark chocolate is easy to obtain, whether it's a bar of chocolate, or a box of chocolates, or even a chocolate dessert (brownies, cake, flourless chocolate cake......)
Oysters -- Despite being off-putting to some people (perhaps due to their slimy, boogery appearance??), oysters are full of zinc, which increases the production of testosterone (which has been linked to a higher sex drive).  I don't know if the zinc content changes if the oyster is raw or cooked, so if the idea of slurping down a raw oyster doesn't excite you, you can always try a Cajun-style fried oyster, instead.    


Figs -- With fig leaves making an appearance as a fashion accessory on Adam and Eve, the fig has a long history.  Rumored to be Cleopatra's favorite fruit, figs were also seen by Greeks as sacred (and associated with fertility and love).    If all you know of figs are those gritty Newton cookies, you should be pleasantly surprised by how nice a fresh fig is, especially if it's cut open and drizzled with a bit of honey (another aphrodisiac, as it turns out).

Hot Chili Peppers -- These contain Capsaicin, a chemical which increases circulation --- getting the blood pumping and stimulating nerve endings.  Depending on your personal constitution, this may be a good thing ... or not such a good thing (I have a delicate stomach).  However, a bit of peppery goodness can be just what you need to generate some heat.    

Honey -- Well, bees make honey through pollination .... and pollination is a symbol of procreation (flowers getting all busy).  Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from honey, and which was traditionally given to newly married couples.  Honey is a pure form of sugar and can be eaten as is (drizzled and sticky), or can be easily baked into all sorts of desserts. 
And no, I'm not mentioning bananas here.  They're a bit obvious.
But who is to say what is an aphrodisiac?  In Random Magic, Henry and Winnie encounter a couple, The Count and Lady De Morgue.   These two are my favorite romantic pair in the book; dark and mysterious, and almost Addams-like, there seems to be a bit of a smolder between them.    They offer Henry and Winnie a salad of greens (p. 119) --- which are quite poisonous.  However, I found myself wondering.... what if these greens were NOT poisonous to the De Morgues?   Perhaps, for them, these are delicious and provoke a passionate response.  Jack-in-the-Pulpit tastes peppery and causes a strong burning reaction if eaten raw.  Blooming Nightshade and Bryony are both poisonous (to us), but have some medicinal qualities.  Ingestion of Laburnum is poisonous and can result in unequally dilated pupils and convulsive movements.    While none of these are appealing to us, Count and Lady De Morgue are unconventional people --- and perhaps their aphrodisiacs would be unconventional, as well.   Definitely food for thought. 

Bonus: Sweet treat of a poem and The Queen of Hearts       
 
There be none of Beauty's daughters” by George Gordon, Lord Byron

There be none of Beauty's daughters
With a magic like thee;
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me.


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Feel free to play the Queen of Hearts tour game
for Random Magic Tour: Vive L'Amour (Feb. 1-14)
       
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Reader invitation: Are you intrigued by some of the aphrodisiacs or
background histories of aphrodisiacs mentioned? Feel free to share
your comments below.

You’re also welcome to join us on Random Magic Tour: Vive
L’Amour
(Through February 14), to read lots of other romantic special
features: Browse tour schedule

10 comments:

The Slowest Bookworm said...

I have never eaten a fig. I have an idea what they taste like though. Chocolate is of course a major favourite of mine, as is honey. But oysters *heaves* omg take them away!

vvb32 reads said...

i was surprised with figs and chili peppers.

Zombie Girrrl said...

Same here; i didn't know figs and chile peppers were aphrodisiacs. I can see where chocolate got it's reputation as the perfect candy for valentine's day, now.

Robert Hagedorn said...

Why did Adam and Eve use fig leaves? Do a search: The First Scandal.

Kulsuma said...

I love chocolate and chilli peppers!:) I have yet to eat a fig!

Jo said...

Ok .... commenting on my own post here (just 'cause it's fun...). I didn't know about chili peppers, but I knew about oysters, figs and chocolate. I actually like oysters (both raw and fried) -- sorry if that's kinda icky. The one thing I can't eat are chili peppers.

Thanks for the comments, everyone!!!

Reading Lassie said...

I love chocolate and oysters! I can't eat chili peppers either!

Misha said...

I love Dark Chocolate! Can't stand Oysters though.

Kiwi.. said...

I LOVE Dark Chocolate!!
Oyster and Chilli seem odd for aphrodisiacs!
But thanks a ton for the informative post!
Happy V-day touring!
Cheers,
<3

Jen the bibliophile said...

Chocolate is, of course, the best. Chocolate ice cream solves most of my problems, so I'm not surprised to see it up there. But, this post reminds me of Easy A (the movie). There is a scene where she talks about aphrodisiacs. Cracks me up, it does.

Jen
In the Closet With a Bibliophile

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